|Before the Microscope and the Telescope
|© 2008 - 2011 Nadine Lalich
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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The following are two very famous men who developed methods, the microscope and the telescope, that
allowed humans to discover things that heretofore had never been seen. No one in human history has
been aware of the existence of many of the minute life forms or the gigantic astral bodies that actually fill
our universe, simply because the human eye was not capable of seeing them. They could not "see"
them, so they did not exist.
Thonius Philips van Leeuwenhoek, better known as Anton van Leeuwenhoek, (October 24, 1632 - August
30, 1723) was a Dutch tradesman and scientist from Delft, Netherlands. He is known as "the Father of
Microbiology," for his contribution to the improvement of the microscope and for his contributions towards
the establishment of microbiology. Using his handcrafted microscopes, van Leeuwenhoek was the first to
observe and describe single celled organisms that he first referred to as animalcules, and which we now
refer to as microorganisms. The "wee animals” he found in the water were so small that if one hundred
were laid end to end “they could not reach to the length of a grain of coarse sand.” Heretofore, the
existence of such life forms was entirely unknown.
He was also the first to record microscopic observations of bacteria, muscle fibers, microscopic
nematodes and rotifers, spermatozoa, blood cells, and blood flow in capillaries (small blood vessels). His
early discoveries in the field of microbiology can be likened to Galileo's early discoveries in the field of
astronomy. Both men used the newly improved optical technologies of their day to make major
discoveries that entirely overturned traditional beliefs and theories in their respective fields, and both
men were initially met with strong skepticism and resistance. Nevertheless, van Leeuwenhoek
remained undaunted and continued to insist to the Royal Society that his observations were accurate, true,
and valid. In 1680, van Leeuwenhoek's observations were fully vindicated by the Society.